Planting a greener future across the UAE

By Angel Chan

Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash

DUBAI 15 October 2019: Today, on Arab Environment Day, Emirates Environmental Group,EEG, in collaboration with McDonald’s UAE, inaugurated the latest phase of their ‘Planting a Greener Future’ initiative.

The educational-urban-afforestation program will engage governmental schools across all seven Emirates and deliver a robust educational program designed to prepare students for the future and adopt a responsible and ethical approach to the environment.

Aligned with a number of national and international sustainability strategies, ‘Planting a Greener Future’ compliments several of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals,UN SDG. On a national level, it supports the “Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure” chapter included in UAE Vision 2021 national agenda.

Launched in line with Arab Environment Day, 350 indigenous trees will be planted over the next year as part of Phase 3. The move is aimed at increasing green spaces in schools, educating the students on issues pertaining to climate action, developing habitats within urban environments for local flora and fauna, to create nature based solution to combat issues such as air pollution, desertification and urban heat island effect.

A curriculum of interactive educational workshops under the theme of “Elements Define Us” inspired by Fire, Air, Water and Land, will each address a specific issue varying from food security, renewable energy, plastic pollution and climate change.

Commenting on the latest phase of ‘Planting a Greener Future’, Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Chairperson at Emirates Environmental Group, highlighted the importance of Urban Afforestation by saying: “Planting indigenous trees in urban areas across the UAE is crucial to improving the environmental ecosystem and infrastructure. Our ambition is to not only make strides in meeting the targets of UAE Vision 2021’s Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure chapter but also to supporting the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. We are proud to be working alongside our long-standing partner, McDonald’s UAE, to educate the future generation and play an active role in improving energy conservation, air pollution management, carbon sequestration and biodiversity enhancement.”

Rafic Fakih, Partner and Managing Director at McDonald’s UAE, added: “Over the past two decades, we have worked closely with EEG to identify meaningful ways to contribute to our local environment and take a more proactive approach to sustainability. With the latest phase of ‘Planting a Greener future’, we’re excited to take our partnership to the next level today to support the UAE’s sustainability goals by empowering the next generation.”

The program, which will run until October 2020, comes off the back of the success of previous phases of the program. First launched in 2015, ‘Planting a Greener Future’ has so far reached 2,800 students across 14 government schools and delivered measurable impact to the environment. Through the planting of 760 indigenous trees, the program has so far restored 7,000m2 of land and, upon maturity, will help mitigate 4.5 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.